New Diocesan Ministry Priorities

The priorities and ministry direction of the diocese are overwhelmingly endorsed by Synod and are missional in nature. While our priorities came from “grass roots” meetings around the diocese, what we came up with is strikingly similar to mission concerns expressed internationally at the gathering of Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference this year.

We are on the same wavelength: it is important that we tap into the passion and energy of that source. We are continuing the process by bringing those with passion and energy for the implementation of the priorities together through two “Super Saturday” events. The first was held November 15, and the second was scheduled for February 7, but has been postponed. Participants include people who were instrumental in organizing the process to determine priorities, Diocesan Synod members, and anyone else passionate about any of the priorities.

Changes in the Diocese’s Structure

Change in the priorities and in diocesan and parish mission will require changes in how the Diocese of New Westminster is set up. By Anglican tradition and practice, and the diocese’s provincial act of incorporation, we are governed by the Bishop in (Diocesan) Synod. That is, Bishop Michael Ingham and the Synod jointly work together. Synod is made up of all licensed clergy plus elected lay representatives from every parish. That won’t change.

But, to do work year-round between meetings of Synod, authority is delegated to a Diocesan Council of about 45 members, including representatives from each of ten Deaneries, and in turn much work is done by Diocesan Council committees, and sub-committees–actually called “Units.” These could indeed be reorganized, with appropriate changes to diocesan canons (bylaws) and regulations –rules set by Diocesan Council.

Some other possible areas of structural change that the Diocesan Council Strategic Working Group suggests be looked at: how clergy are appointed, how parishes are created and closed, and how parishes may be organized.

All parishes undergo the Ministry Assessment Process (the “MAP”)

Synod 2007 endorsed the creation and piloting of a Ministry Assessment Process. It is quite involved.

The process begins when a parish (or group of parishes) requests it, new clergy are appointed, or the bishop mandates it. The bishop and parish and diocesan leaders design the process and set a timeline. Based on the “Appreciative Inquiry” process, the parish determines its story (using history, parish statistics, building audit, etc.), dreams a range of options for future ministry, then decides where it wants to go in the future, working with diocesan committees and staff to devise a ministry plan. The bishop must approve the plan, and then comes the work to implement it.

At present three regions with fourteen parishes, and seven individual parishes are engaged in this process for a total of twenty-one parishes, almost a third of the diocese. Two more parishes have requested the MAP and the Diocesan Ministry and Congregational Development Committee have named two additional regions as candidates for the process in the near future.

Who’s doing MAP currently?

Three regions with 14 parishes

New Westminster – St. Mary Sapperton, St. Barnabas, Holy Trinity Cathedral

Fraser Valley East – Christ Church Hope, All Saints Agassiz, St. Thomas Chilliwack, St. John’s Sardis

North Vancouver – 7 – St. Clare-in-the-Cove, St.John’s, St. Richard’s, St. Catherine’s, St. Clement’s, St. Margaret’s, and St. Agnes.

Seven individual parishes

St. David of Wales, East Vancouver; St. Mary’s Kerrisdale; St. Stephen’s Burnaby; Holy Trinity, White Rock; St. Paul’s Vancouver; St. John’s Burnaby; St. Margaret Cedar Cottage